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Increasing Your EV Charging Capacity Without Increasing Your Electricity Supply

As our planet’s health consistently declines and becomes increasingly apparent to average consumers, focus on environmental consciousness and sustainability increases. For the environmentally conscious consumer, offering EV charging can be an even greater advantage than one might first assume.

For those who offer EV charging, as the sale of EVs grows, an increased charging need naturally occurs. To often, however, charging providers assume that increased charging capacity entails increasing electricity supply, which is often not the case.  Increasing the supply of electricity unnecessarily poses unnecessary environmental stress and financial costs. In this guide we describe how to approach a system expansion while at the same time ensuring an economical and environmentally sound procedure.  

1. EV Growth - Increasing Charging Needs

There is no doubt that EVs are popular and more available to people than ever before. In this figure from Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) Global EV Outlook 2018 report, the numbers of the global EV stock emphasize this tendency.


The development in chargeable vehicles has created new challenges for energy systems; increased dynamics and unpredictability for the end user, and capacity issues in the distribution network due to increased effect needs in periods with peak electricity loads. Because expanding electricity supply is costly, it is profitable to consider options to better utilize the current supply and increase electricity distribution efficiency.

2. EV Charging as Part of the Bigger Picture

With the UN climate report from 2018 stating that every half degree of extra global warming will affect hundreds of millions of people, we were given yet another proof that reducing our individual footprints is of crucial importance. In order to reach the goal of keeping global warming within 1.5C, emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030. The overarching goal is to reach a level of zero-carbon emissions. 

One of the obvious measures to reduce carbon emissions is to replace fossil fueled energy with green energy. Each EV that replaces a fossil fueled car represent a step in the right direction.

Read also: The Reciprocity of Intelligent Energy Management for Utilities and Commercial Building Owners

3. Who Should Invest in EV Charging?

Several commercial property owners have unexploited flexibility in their existing energy resources, while the demand for available charging in buildings and parking houses is increasing. For the following groups, investing in an EV charging infrastructure has great profitability potential: 

  • Property developers
  • Anyone determined to put up large buildings, whether for residential housing or commercial business
  • Owners of larger existing building complexes
  • Owners of commercial buildings
  • Anyone offering public parking
  • Any service provider with a fleet of vehicles (home nursing care, i.e.)

The higher the number of planned residential units or parking spaces is, the more profitable the establishment of an EV charging system. The cost associated with the investment and installation argues for a long-term perspective. If there is only a modest commitment with a plan to install a total of five charging stations, this will not create significant value.

EV sales numbers and predictions indicate that preparing for a future of EV dominance will be profitable. A keen commitment in this direction will be a sensible investment, both for the environment and for an investor’s bottom line.

Read also: Save (On) Your Flexibility, Not Your kWhs

4. How Does EV Charging Create Value?

For a housing cooperative, EV charging is a potential source of income. Before this can become a reality, you need permission to access the residents’ electricity consumption data. You need this information to make use of a top system that can provide an overview of the free capacity available in the existing system. You can compare a top system to a smart meter. Making use of one allows building owners to utilize existing disposable electricity optimally. Electricity excesses can be stored and used or sold back to utility companies. 

The mapping of total electricity consumption and how it is distributed around the clock in a housing cooperative provides better predictability than a building where the number of users and overall consumption varies. This shows why a housing cooperative is particularly suited for claiming the advantages of a well-controlled and managed electricity supply.

Charging during the night is another opportunity in a housing cooperative, a solution that will not work as well for a shopping center or other types of customer parking where traffic is naturally limited to opening hours.

The term prosumer is a consumer who also produces energy. Maximum utilization of existing capacity is what the prosumer term is all about. The prosumer revolution also represents the principle that forms an important part of the foundation on which we need to build our sustainable future.

Because the shortage of EV charging infrastructure is, to a great extent, what has been restricting further adoption of electrical vehicles, those who can provide charging facilities will have an absolute advantage. In some online property search engines, it is now possible to set EV charging as one of the preferences in a property search. This function shows the real expectations consumers have for the availability of EV charging, and proves that offering EV charging has a real, visible value. The more chargers offered, the higher is the value it brings to the property. Accessible EV charging will make a property more attractive to anyone driving an EV, whether they are residents of a cooperative housing or customers of a company located in the building. 

EV charging make up one of many electricity dependent components in a commercial building. Another way of reducing environmental impact is to gain full control of the building’s total energy consumption. With an AI based top system, all energy dependent components can be integrated into the same system. By giving the system access to historical and real time data, it creates predictions, and based on these, the total electricity supply is distributed in the most cost-effective way available. Hence, investing in a well-functioning top system is a big environmentally friendly step in the right direction. 

Read also: Electric Vehicles: Exploiting Grid Capacity and Gaining Better Charging Access

5. Concerns about Investing in EV Chargers and How to Get Around Them

There are two main concerns about installing EV chargers are the lack of predictability from galloping technology development, and operating costs. Even though swift progress can be beneficial, it can also raise a doubt whether the technology we invest in today will endure.   

Most of the widespread perceptions of which challenges come with EV chargers can be avoided if proper mapping is carried out in advance. Having a service and maintenance contract in place will ensure that the system works as it should and that skilled personnel are available when needed. This incurs extra cost, but operating costs are modest when compared to total costs. 

If you already have an EV charging system and wish to expand capacity, the first step is to check if upgrading was considered at the time of the initial system and wiring installation.

The best overall tip to ensure you get a charging site that will neither be too expensive to operate nor outdated too quickly, is to consult experts and allow enough time to do a proper mapping of actual and future needs before making any decisions.

Contrary to what one might think, the right equipment is not the decisive factor. Focus on choosing the right supply and infrastructure for each specific system. A qualified supplier will insist on starting with a main supply cabinet and wiring that can easily be expanded. As long as this opportunity exists in a system, it will be able to keep up with whatever technical development comes.

6. The Cost of Establishing EV Charging in a Commercial Building

We can separate the costs of establishing EV charging into installation and operational costs.

Installation costs:

  • Purchasing the chargers
  • Purchasing and administrating payment solutions
  • Digging and installation
  • Expansion of the electricity supply (if needed)

Operational costs:

  • The cost of the used effect and electricity
  • Operational costs for the chosen solutions
  • License costs for smart data management tools and an app for your customers

Operating costs can be reduced significantly by optimizing and utilizing the existing electricity supply. An AI-based top system can do this, and through its predictions and algorithms for electricity distribution, the need for manual labor decreases, while efficiency and income increases.

7. EV Charging as a Service?

Several providers offer EV charging as a leasing service. There are different business models to choose from, but usually the installation costs fall on the provider, while you manage the operating costs. As soon as the system is up and running, you can start using a payment solution where each EV owner pays for their electricity consumption. This income goes back to the operator of the charging site, providing an opportunity to start down payment immediately.

The advantage of leasing is the chance to delegate as much of the responsibility as you prefer. The installer can control both the installation, operating and technical support. It is worth noticing that if you decide to hand it all over to a provider, they will probably be eligible to keep most of the income from the charging service.

8. What to Consider when Planning for EV Charging in Your Commercial Building

Before deciding to establish EV charging in a commercial building, several elements should be considered and accounted for. Meeting your defined needs is the first and most important requirement. Here are some questions you should ask in the preparatory investigation phase:

  • When does energy consumption peak?
  • When and how often does the need for charging occur?
  • How many EV chargers do we need as of today?
  • How many EV chargers do we need long-term, five years from now?
  • Do I want to levy the EV drivers for charging?
  • What capacity does the current have and how can we best utilize it?
  • What data management tools can be used to improve the efficiency in how we best use and distribute our electricity?
  • What is the cost if I want to expand my electricity supply?

In inner city areas, space limitation can be a challenge in the planning of EV charging stations. The ideal solution would be to build charging stations in addition to the current parking spaces, but this is not always possible in cramped areas. An alternative is to convert some of the existing parking spaces into EV charging stations. If there is a guest parking area, a possible solution is to install charging stations there.

9. What Should I be Aware of when Planning to Expand EV Charging?

When planning for an investment like EV charging, seeing the bigger picture and looking ahead is advantageous. With this approach you are more likely to end up with the most dynamic and well-functioning charging system possible.

A well-adapted supply and infrastructure make up the foundation for a sustainable and effective charging system. If you start out with the wrong infrastructure, it might have to be replaced as early as after five years. If there is no opportunity to expand, there is also a chance of facing considerable costs in the second round as well. With a main supply cabinet and wiring that provides the option of expanding, expansion costs decrease significantly. The right setup from the get-go make for a flexible and adaptable system.

Before choosing and investing in equipment, make sure:

  • The equipment is tested and has strong references.
    Emphasize solutions that come with a well-functioning management tool.
  • You can manage the system as one charging station.
    This is the most efficient way to get an overview of the electricity usage, and will prove cost-effective.
  • A low price does not get too tempting.
    Do not fall for the offer with the lowest price just to save a few dollars. With an inexpensive charging station, you risk missing out on functionality, which can end up being very expensive in the longer run.
  • Invest in intelligence that can manage and control how much effect goes into the charging.
    This way it is easy to steer clear of the demand charge.
  • There is an option for follow-up.
    Check for strong references here as well, and make sure there is a conclusive guarantee. 

10. How to Best Utilize EV Charger Data

According to extensive research, managing the charging through smart tools and introducing storage capacity are the most effective measures for reducing power requirements.

This thesis mentions a project testing software that provides an overview and the possibility to manage energy resources using predictions. The results are clear: Optimizing (managing charging) is preferable to energy management based on set rules, with the software providing 43 per cent saved capacity, compared to 24 per cent when following the rule-based approach.

Your EV charger can communicate with the power grid operator’s smart meter and activate charging when the grid is less strained and electricity is cheaper. There are several alternatives when looking at systems and management tools to help utilize the electricity that already exists in a system. The premise setting idea is to reduce or equalize electricity consumption, which will be favorable both to the environment and your bottom line.

Read also: Collective Electricity Management: An Easy, Green-Efficiency Tool

11. How Do I Arrange for The Least Resource Demanding Operation?

By installing the chargers in one larger station with a common access point from the same monitoring point and electricity supply, you can gather data from the entire system. Data from the chargers can be used to optimize maintenance and reduce repair and downtime. A good management tool is important to optimize the use of the existing electricity capacity.

EV charging can be a source of income in commercial buildings as well as for housing cooperatives. The cost base is effect and electricity. As long as you are in control of that and electricity consumption can be managed within the frames given by the consumers, selling your electricity surplus back to the power grid operators is a potential source of income here as well. This reduces the overall operating resource demand.

A survey carried out among Norwegian EV drivers shows that this group understands and accepts the costs that come with EV charging opportunity. We consider this to be good news knowing that payment for charging can finance the continued operations of charging stations. EV drivers show greater faith in charging stations where they have to pay for charging, as this usually means the station is accessible and well maintained. Predictability and availability are essential features to an EV driver.

An EV charging station is probably just one of many devices in your overall internal electricity system. One way of coordinating and integrating all your components in one system is investing in a top system. This is based on artificial intelligence as well as when fed data from all your electricity demanding components can create predictions for how to best utilize your existing electricity supply.

As the service provider, you should make sure you sign a service contract, which will ensure that maintenance and service is under control. Consequently, EV drivers will return to make use of your stable charging offer; traffic that will generate a certain stability and income.  

12. What Are My Options If the Need for Charging is Higher Than My Capacity?

  • Restrict consumer access:
    One option is to limit consumer access. This can be done by reducing the period or the amount of electricity available to each consumer. Though this may seem like a logical solution, it is an option you need to consider if you know how to utilize your existing capacity. Moreover, restrictions should always be a last resort.

  • Purchase batteries:
    The prices of batteries have dropped considerably the last years, and the energy density per battery has close to quadrupled since 2008. Although batteries save and store excess energy, they are still relatively costly, we see more reasonably priced products on their way into the market as this development is increasing steadily.
  • Smart charging:
    Automated software can manage the charging system to make it as efficient as possible. Most countries have a demand charge on electricity, a measure introduced as an incentive for consumers to distribute their electricity consumption more evenly throughout the day. With the demand charge it will be more expensive to use devices that require high effect simultaneously. EV charging needs high effect, like other household appliances. Using a smart meter or other managing tools will help you get an overview over your electricity consumption. Charging at the favorable time of day will be decisive in avoiding the demand charges.

  • Expand your electricity supply:
    An electrician will most likely advise most customers to expand their electricity supply right away. Choosing to extend the supply, which may seem like the most obvious alternative, will cause the most stress, both for your budget and for the environment. Additionally, this brings about noise, as well as limitations on existing charging availability while work is ongoing.

13. What Should I Be Aware of when Developing a Solid Tender Package?

The most important thing about developing a tender package is to communicate the real needs that have to be met. The exact charging need should make up the basis for all assessments by equipment or service providers. Keep it as simple as possible, and make sure it is adequate. Focus on communicating the essential functionality or service clearly, as this will allow you to give the provider a free scope in presenting alternative solutions. The more comprehensive your mapping ahead of time has been, the more specifically you can communicate the actual needs. 

Don’t be afraid to express the importance of focusing on an energy sufficient and environmentally conscious approach in the planning stages of the project.

14. How Do I Choose the Right Supplier?

When considering several tender offers, always make sure you ask for references. Spend time reading and comparing the offers thoroughly.

  • What are the running, operational costs?
  • Which options do I have for managing the energy consumption?
  • Focus on the system’s lifespan. It’s easy to get caught up in the installation and the equipment, but seeing the bigger picture is key.
  • Do I have an option to reduce the effect? Electricity will continue to be inexpensive in the years to come, but the demand rate will penalize inefficient managing tools. A well-developed managing tool will play a key role in utilizing the existing electricity supply.
  • What level of weather exposure and temperatures can the EV charger handle? The restrictions set by these limitations will determine the placement of the chargers. Make sure the EV chargers you choose can operate with all functions intact in the environment they are planned for.
  • Keep in mind that the building and other components also enter into this ecosystem. The charging system does not operate as an isolated unit consisting of the EV chargers alone. Choose a management system where every component can be integrated.
  • How will solar cell panels fit into the system?
  • Is there an option to implement batteries as part of the system?

A provider that mentions these points and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the system as a whole is likely to be the provider who can present you with the best and most beneficial offer.

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